Taking a seat on the terrace at Az.u.r, it’s easy to understand the restaurant’s appeal. There’s chilled music, comfortable sofa chairs to lounge on for hours and, oh yeah, panoramic views of the Marina. It’s like a holiday in a restaurant. After a glance at the menu, I knew I was going to enjoy this meal, as there was an impressive selection of all my favourite Mediterranean dishes, as well as a menu of barbecue classics served straight from the grill.
We opted to kick off with a couple of starters to share between us, the Fried calamari and Mezze selection were our dishes of choice, and were perfectly complemented by a refreshing round of Mojitos. When the starters landed at our table, we weren’t disappointed, the calamari was cooked to perfection and the mezze came complete with hummus, olives, Arabic bread, cheese samosas and lamb sfeeha, it was a perfect way to kick off our meal.
Then it was time for mains – I opted for the Seared sea bass with piquillo peppers, buttered green beans and herb mash, while my friend went for the grilled menu, picking the Angus sirloin steak. My sea bass was perfectly crispy on the outside and absolutely delicious when paired with the indulgent buttery mash. While the steak was another winner, I know this for a fact because I was told, repeatedly, “Oh, it cuts like butter!”
If you don’t want to stick to fish and meat, there are plenty of delicious dishes direct from the Med to please any palate, I spent a good few minutes toying with the idea of Rigatoni and lobster in tomato sauce, and the mysteriously tempting Tagine of the day. There’s a Margarita calzone and Truffle tortellini, which will please any vegetarians, while meat eaters will be happy tucking into the Cajun chicken breasts or Az.u.r’s twist on classic meatballs in a chilli and coconut cream sauce.
But, before I knew it, it was time for dessert. At first I wasn’t sure I had room for a full pudding and suggested sharing one, but then noticed what was on offer – Tiramisu, Saffron brûlée and a Supreme of royal chocolate – and I knew these were not for sharing! I went for the dramatically presented Ricotta cheesecake with strawberry compote and sorbet, while my friend tried the Apple tart, complete with cinnamon ice cream and apple jelly.
They were both totally indulgent and the perfect end to a relaxed meal. Our night then stretched out to include a lazy cocktail or two out on the Az.u.r terrace, my new go-to winter spot.
Location Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel and Suites, Dubai Marina
Timing 5pm-10.30pm, daily (terrace stays open until 1am)
Tel 04 319 4000
Aquara Restaurant and Lounge
Sit back and relax on Aquara’s balcony while you soak up stunning views as yachts pass by. The menu is seafood-heavy with an Asian twist here and there. We love the spicy king fish, while the surf and turf, which comes complete with giant prawns, is always a popular choice.
Location Dubai Marina Yacht Club
Timing 6pm-midnight, daily
Tel 04 362 7934
Make sure you get an outside table so you can enjoy endless Marina views as you tuck into the Asian tapas-style menu. It’s perfect for sharing with friends, and the Beef tataki carpaccio and Spicy bell pepper and Parmesan bruschetta are to die for.
Location Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina
Timing 10am-midnight, Sat-Wed; 10am-1am, Thu-Fri
Tel 04 317 6000
Shakespeare & Co
If there’s a more girly restaurant in the UAE, we want to know about it, because Shakespeare’s ticks all our pastel and floral boxes. We love a lazy Friday morning out on the Marina Mall branch’s terrace watching the world go by and tucking into a hearty breakie, the Healthy breakfast is our go-to choice, but we never leave without a box of macaroons.
Location Dubai Marina Mall
Timing 7am-1am, daily
Tel 04 457 4199